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  • Writer's pictureMarchelle Wilson

5 things to STOP saying when someone dies.

Updated: Apr 24, 2023


Hey thought thinkers. If you have been on this journey with me, then you know that my brain has a hard time turning off. I want to say I am observant, but the better description is extremely nosey. I am always watching people and trying to understand humans as a whole.


None of us wants to deal with death and yet we all understand that it is an inevitable truth of the human experience while here on earth.


Growing up we become conditioned to believe that what we see, experience and learn in our household and the village that surrounds us, is the gospel. When we go out into the world, we realize that there are many ways to experience life. Thanks to social media, we get to be in the homes of anyone around the globe. We get to see the good and the bad. Within this new paradox discovery, comes new rules that can help us respect others.


1. THEY ARE IN A BETTER PLACE. I was raised to say this and truthfully, I have no idea if this is true. I want to believe that it is true. Actually, I need to believe that it is true but not everyone feels this way. I have found that even those who agree with this statement, when dealing with the death of a loved one need time to first process their emotions. Telling them that someone they want to still exist may appear selfish and condescending. Death is a fragile place for the living and often times what they need most is for those that love and care for them to just be available.

2. EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. Another statement I used to be believe with vigilant authority. I have been through a lot in my life and now as I write I believe that I needed this almost cliché to reconcile the bad things that happened to me. It reads like a euphemism, not knowing exactly what to say and yet not really wanting to say the thing called death. However, I still believe that everything happens for a reason, and perhaps for the same reason. I need to, for mental stability but I have realized that most people say this because they do not know the reason for which death occurred. No parent who has lost a child, wants to believe that GOD, the universe, life, however you choose to acknowledge existence, had a reason more powerful than the love they had for their child.

3. HOW ARE YOU? Now this one baffles me because it is counterproductive and self-explanatory. Losing a loved one takes the mind and the soul to a primal place of pain and I would assume that one’s cognitive skills would feel side swiped. AND THEN to hear, how are you, when you already know that they are suffering is some sick mess. If you don’t know what to say, it is best to say nothing and just BE. This advice holds truth for most things.

4. DO YOU NEED ANYTHING? Like I stated above, the grieving party is operating at a cognitive loss and anything in the form of a question may be too much to think about. Asking at this time may seem overwhelming. They need their loved one back. They need to not be feeling this pain. They need to reverse time. The needs are endless. If you see a need you can fulfill, do it.

5. I AM SORRY FOR YOUR LOST. I added this one to add a little humor to a solemn discussion, but this one might be the worst for the grammar police. You ever been on social media and loved one and friends are sharing condolences and boom, post after post the “T” seems to stick out like raisins in potato salad. The correct saying is I AM SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS. Lost is a verb and sometimes an adjective but it is never a noun. Both words do convey losing so don’t be so hard on yourself, but do remember that the correct word is loss.


Understand that you can believe something and be cognizant that not all feel as you do. What you believe may not be supporting them in their darkest hour. The goal when being there for someone experiencing losing a loved one is selflessness. It is not about you. Let it be about them. They may not even be able to receive ANY of the ways you try to be there, but in time, they will recall who was there for them and how.

You want to be on the right side.


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